If you wish to marvel at men garbed in native attire and g-strings, women in their native tapis attire, observing Imbayah Festival in Banaue is a must activity for you. The tourist town of Banaue celebrated the 4-day festival from April 26 to April 29, 2018. The festival involves street performances of their native dance, community parades, wooden scooter race, and their native games.
If you have celebrated big festivals around the Philippines, like the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo, the Imbayah, from my observation, is quite more on the solemn side. The choreography and live music are simpler. There is not much variation from each unit that performed aside from the different accessories and ritual they portray. While they are performing, I am getting goosebumps, since I observed that their performance is rooted in their culture without a touch of modernization. No matter how repetitive their choreography is and how simple their formations are, I can see from their facial expressions the realness and rawness of the total performance. The cultural performers are not pure secondary school students, but of village elders and youngsters as well.
From the two days that we are in the town to observe the festival, here are the shots from the cultural parade. There are 5 Units from 12 barangays and performed from the ICS area up to the front of the Town Hall.
There is also an exhibition and contests in wood carving with both men and women contestants. I am deeply amazed by their skill in creating detailed and eccentric carvings.
In the afternoon, the waiting crowd at the town proper are excited for the arrival of the Wooden Bicycle race. I stood near the finish line marker, even under the direct afternoon sun. Few minutes passed, chants and cheers erupt from the crowd as winners arrived. Such an exciting first-time experience.
- Prebook your accommodation at the town proper, near the parade route. This is where the civic events are held.
- Prebook your bus seats via Coda Lines website.
- Check beforehand with their Tourism Representatives for activities and parade route.
- No need for media passes to be part of the Street Dance and other events.
- I booked my accommodation at the People’s Lodge – Contact: +63 919 532 5605